By David Burge
In the last few days the collective enthusiasm of the George Mason University community has reached a fever pitch as we’ve watched carloads of freshmen unpack at the residence halls, transfer students eagerly register for classes as they become Mason Patriots and countless international students wheeling their luggage across campus after arriving in the country only a few hours ago.
As Vice President for Enrollment Management, it’s my favorite time of year. I’m new to George Mason after most recently working in Admissions at Arizona State University. With each observation and student encounter I have here, one theme emerges: Mason attracts intelligent, driven students from a multitude of backgrounds and educational paths.
A big part of my job is looking at the numbers. The data tells us that, as a group, the talents and abilities of these incoming students eclipse those who have come before them and that no other entering class has earned higher marks.
- In 2007, the average high school GPA for the entering class was 3.46. The freshmen starting their Mason experience this week have a collective average GPA of more than 3.66.
- Most of this growth has come from our highest performing students, with almost a 10 percent increase over last year in the number of students earning a 3.9 or higher GPA in high school .
- This year will mark the largest incoming class ever recorded in the history of the George Mason University Honors College.
But there is more to our student body than impressive facts and figures. Individual stories of accomplishment coalesce to form the landscape of this incoming class of undergraduates. Like the student who fled Iraq in 2004 after the start of the conflict, the Electrical Engineering student who wants nothing more than to learn how to use green technology to improve the lives of those in his hometown, and the transfer student coming to Fairfax after working with the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless.
George Mason University is a truly unique educational environment dedicated to finding and nurturing talent wherever it may lie. Proudly, half of our students are from underrepresented populations and one-third are first-generation college students. We serve the suburban student coming directly from a Fairfax-area high school just as well as we serve the transfer student working full-time or the international student who has traveled thousands of miles to live and study just a short distance from our nation’s capital.
I’m proud to be a Patriot and to be affiliated with such an impressive group of students who are pursuing their dreams in the welcoming environment that defines Mason.